Ventus Geospatial Inc, a leader in providing Geospatial services, received Transport Canada approval this week to provide operational UAS assistance to the affected fire regions of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Transport Canada granted Ventus together with Elevated Robotics, an emergency Complex Restricted Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) which enables them to operate the Aeryon SkyRanger in restricted airspace over the forest fire regions. Forest Fire Area is otherwise restricted airspace for any private commercial operator using UAS. Special permission may be granted in instances where the operator has a proven operational track record and operates a proven technology. Ventus has been operating Aeryon sUAS since 2011. This special SFOC enables Ventus to assist with the fire response for a limited period.
The fire around Fort McMurray has affected in excess of 220,000 hectares. Using high resolution geolocated imagery and thermal infrared sensors, the team at Ventus have been approved to use the SkyRanger to coordinate with and assess fire fighting efforts.
Last month’s devastating earthquake in Ecuador also saw the use of several sUAS systems including the SkyRanger to accurately assess damage and coordinate relief efforts. UAS technology provides emergency and aid workers with aerial imagery and data that enables quicker and more effective response to the changing landscape of a natural disaster like an earthquake or a forest fire.
The approval provided to Ventus is the second provided by Transport Canada for UAS operation in a Forest Fire Area. In September 2015, I2S was also granted permission by Transport Canada to help respond to the wild fires that spread through British Columbia at that time. To learn more about how they used the SkyRanger to assist fire fighters, click here.